UKBlues Federation is proud to be hosting the Fifth UKBlues Challenge. The challenge will be taking place at Worthing Pier’s, Southern Pavilion on 8th September 2018 Doors open at 18.00 hours. Tickets are in demand so get yours today – over at SeeTickets.
Bluesdoodles is delighted to have once again the opportunity to have a conversation with the invited participants for the Fifth UKBlues Challenge. The judges are going to have a real challenge in deciding the which of the five bands (Tom C Walker, Kyla Brox, Catfish, Greg Coulson, and band number five to be announced after Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, Jessica Foxley stage will be choosing the fifth band!) are going to be heading off to represent the UK at the 35th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 & 9th European Blues Challenge in Ponta Delgada in the Azores in April 2019.
The second conversation with Liz over at Bluesdoodles is Tom Walker, born in Birmingham’ His virtuoso guitar performances have stunned and thrilled audiences. For seven years Tom Walker was a trio and was relaunched in 2018 as Tom C Walker Band. Tom C Walker Band, four piece that has blues at its heart and Tom’s guitar playing leading the band forward.
BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 5th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more. Looks like you had fun at Upton?
TW: Thank you it is amazing to firstly be a finalist at the awards and now to be asked to participate in the challenge. Yes, Upton was an astonishingly good gig we had a fab time.
BD: 2018 sees the Fifth UK British Blues Challenge. Tell us what it means to Tom C Walker Band to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in International Blues Challenge in Memphis and European Blues Challenge Azores in 2019
TW: What an opportunity to be asked to be a challenger at this year’s event. It is a real honour to be part of it and comes at a good time for us. It is a great gig to be involved in, not just the competition but being involved in playing on the same stage as other bands. I was actually sitting in Ponta Delgada, Azores on holiday with my girlfriend, when I received the email confirming that the band had been nominated for the challenge. It would be a dream if I were to be back playing my blues with the band in the Azores. The Azores is really beautiful described as the Hawaii of Africa, it is a volcanic version of Devon, with added hot water springs and so much more. Travelling to Memphis to play blues with my band is a dream.
BD: What are the Blues to Tom Walker? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
Blues it is life music, sad/happy troubles/achievements all emotions of life. It is just life music, yes, simple music but it is not easy to put it across the right way. I am a white guy from Birmingham playing the blues. Blues is found in so many styles, funk, soul it is a heartbeat a foundation of all pop music. It is an industry, and the music industry is about how much you spend. This is an opportunity that has nothing to do with money it is about finding the right band to represent the UK. Blues today in UK is a mix of sounds. Positive blues where musicians get to push it to every boundary you can it is definitely a broad style of music. Blues in Britain does have a different feel. I also love that fact that British Blues has great musicians Clapton, Cream, Mick Taylor, Pete Green; I love the Stones and it is always more than the blues. Personally, I prefer the American style and approach. That said it was the British that took the blues and through them, Americans re-found the music with BB King, Buddy Guy and so many more. British Blues were an important step in the history of the Blues with Chris Barber, John Mayall with a voice that is a hug.
BD: Your band last year changed its name, was this for a change of direction?
TW: Yes, we changed the name. I had been meaning to do something as having trio at the end of my name limited the size of the band and people thought I was a Jazz trio! I had to change my name because of Tom Walker who had signed to Sony, he got played on the BBC and it was confusing who was who. Being unsigned I changed the name to Tom C. Walker, still my name but now differentiates me from that Tom Walker. It was horrible at the time but the upside of it is people are discovering my music through his name. Now were are a four-piece, Tom C Walker Guitar/Vocals, Deano Bass; Jack Cooper Guitar & Jack Bowles Drums. The music is now a lot more soulful with a funky influence and Freddie King. It has become a lot more American, just the way our music is developing. We are now doing the right music, chatting to the right people, building our profile. This year has been the year where we have stepped up to a new level. BD: Any plans to go into the studio? TW: No not really. We do though plan to do new videos then perhaps go into the studio, but not going to do an album for the sake of doing an album. First album is really special might be outside forces that persuade us to do an album. You definitely need good PR plus some money to do a successful album.
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
The Federation is a figurehead for the genre in UK today. The right people are definitely steering the Federation and it is the right time for it to be happening everything is going great. It would be fantastic if the Federation could endorse/ organize tours hand in hand with the awards and Challenge. To be the link between venues/Booking Agents and musicians. Using the five bands involved in the challenge would be a great start in getting the profile of the Federation raised. Federation to be a one-stop shop so that Blues becomes more consolidated working together bringing artists closer to the people. This way audiences would find new bands more easily bringing it all together. Promoting what the blues is – that it is a varied and fun genre from Freddie King, BB King through to players on the circuit today making Blues recognised as music people want to go and listen to.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
Drums: Steve Ferrone
Guitar: Tom C. Walker
Vocals: Tom C. Walker
Bass: Louis Johnson
Keys: Greg Philinganes
Thank you for your time and insights into Tom C Walker and the Blues. TW: Yes, it has been fun chatting and it is going to be a good gig on the 8th September looking forward to playing and it goes without saying I would love to win it.
Tickets still available follow the link to Purchase from See Tickets